October 03, 2012 - Leadership. Scholarship. Service. Character.
Oxford High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society inducted 45 new members last week. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Finding a single high school student who embodies all of these admirable qualities at such a young age is quite impressive. Finding 45 of them in a single school is absolutely astounding.
As always, Oxford High School settled for nothing less than astounding as it welcomed 45 new members (see shaded box right) into the Freda Quayle Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) on Sept. 25 at the Performing Arts Center.
"We have the honor of inducting a very, very large group – much larger than the groups we've inducted in the past," noted NHS Advisor Joshua Budden.
"I'd like to congratulate all of our new inductees," said NHS President Makayla Eckardt. "It takes a lot of hard work (to become an NHS member) and I truly, truly believe you all have worked for it."
During the course of their high school careers, each and every one of these juniors and seniors have demonstrated leadership, scholarship, service and character in the classroom, in the hallways, on stages and athletic fields, and in the community. These are the "four pillars of what the National Honor Society stands for" and together they help democracy "flourish," explained Eckardt.
"Leadership can exist in many forms including being president of a club, a team captain (or) a lead chair for an instrument," said NHS Treasurer Lauren Krzisnik. "A true leader always maintains a positive attitude, demonstrates school spirit and does the right thing in and out of school . . . In high school, always doing the right thing is not always the easy path, but it is the right path to choose in order to be a true leader."
Although students needs a grade point average of at least 3.5 in order to be eligible for NHS membership, the group's historian Madeline Dickens explained that scholarship is more than just earning good grades, it's the key to unlocking true knowledge for the betterment of others and one's self.
"In the National Honor Society, we learn how to use our knowledge to serve others," she said. "We can come up with new solutions to meet needs in the community . . . As individuals, we owe it to ourselves to learn as much as we can for our own enrichment and improvement . . . Through NHS and our own experiences, we find that the power knowledge gives us is the greatest power of all."
NHS Vice President Alexis Straub spoke on the pillar of service. "To serve one's community is to give assistance to others in a way that is dependable and enthusiastic and available," she said. "In other words, it is simply to make someone's day by giving of ourselves out of the kindness of our hearts and expecting nothing in return . . . Helping a struggling math student with tutoring sessions, making a holiday craft with a child, volunteering at the school's athletic concession stand or cleaning the yard of a senior citizen are all examples of service."
NHS Secretary Madison Tilley reflected on the pillar of character.
"Trustworthiness and responsibility are just two of the character values we look for in an NHS member," she said. "Trustworthiness is an ethical value that is demonstrated when we stick to our commitments . . . Responsibility is doing what we're supposed to do, like when we take the initiative to step up to the plate and assist the community each year. Our character is really defined by how we act even when nobody's watching."
Stocked with 45 new members, NHS looks forward to another rewarding year of helping others. "The more people we have, the easier it is to work and do great things in the community," Eckardt said.
Last year, the group accomplished a variety of wonderful deeds including hosting a blood drive for the American Red Cross and a canned food drive for Oxford-Orion FISH.
"We were also able to raise and donate over $500 to Oxford community families who just needed a helping hand," Eckhardt said.
From hosting the Santa Breakfast at the Salvation Army's Camp Echo Grove in Addison Township to volunteering at all of the elementary school spring fairs, NHS loves to work with younger students.
But they don't just use their hands and hearts to help others, NHS students also use their minds by tutoring students "at every level" in the school district.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.